Organic Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks
Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), also known as “true cinnamon”, is a premium spice that’s been sought out since the times of ancient Egypt for both its medicinal properties and for culinary use. Ceylon cinnamon is not the same as the more familiar Cinnamomum cassia found in most grocery stores. Unlike cassia cinnamon, which usually originates in China or Indonesia, Ceylon cinnamon hails from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and is distinctly different when it comes to quality, taste, and health benefits.
Light tan in color with a delicate, flaky, paper-like texture, Ceylon cinnamon possesses a subtle, complex, slightly sweet taste that lacks the spicy ‘bite’ of pungent cassia cinnamon. This makes Ceylon cinnamon more desirable when baking or cooking lighter dishes where a less-pronounced flavor is desired. Ceylon cinnamon is more fragrant than cassia cinnamon, especially when heat releases its aromatic oils. Its sweet, pleasant aroma carries hints of citrus and clove, and doesn’t assault the senses like that of cassia cinnamon.
Cultivating and Harvesting Ceylon Cinnamon
Blue Lily Organics Ceylon cinnamon sticks have been carefully cultivated in the same way for generations. After growing for two years, the cinnamon tree is pruned down to a stump and buried, prompting fresh shoots to sprout straight from its roots the following year. These new branches are harvested and the outer bark is removed to expose the tender inner bark, which is loosened by beating the branch evenly with a hammer (or traditionally, a brass rod). The inner bark is then peeled off and laid out to dry in long strips called “quills”. It’s during the drying process that Ceylon cinnamon sticks take on their characteristic curled shape.
Nutritious and Medicinal Components of Ceylon Cinnamon
Cinnamon oil is one of the most important healing components of Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon sticks contain therapeutic essential oils like cinnamaldehyde, responsible for cinnamon’s familiar aroma, and eugenol, a sweet-smelling oil with anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Ceylon cinnamon sticks also provide other important components including fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and a multitude of minerals including calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, and iodine. Ceylon cinnamon also happens to be one of the best antioxidant food sources available.
Perhaps the most important reason to use Ceylon cinnamon is that its counterpart cassia cinnamon is a known source of coumarin, a natural yet toxic substance that’s been linked to kidney and liver concerns when consumed regularly in significant amounts. Although the FDA has banned coumarin as a food additive in the United States, it inexplicably does not regulate the amount of coumarin present in cinnamon, which is used by millions of people on a daily basis. Cassia cinnamon typically contains a whopping 3,000 mg per kilogram to as much as 10,000 mg per kilogram of this dangerous chemical compound, while Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts – approximately 7 mg per kilogram.
The Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has long been touted for its health benefits, including its anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. Some of cinnamon’s health benefits include supporting a healthy cardiovascular system and healthy glucose metabolism. Cinnamon has also been used to help soothe digestive concerns, and the stimulating scent of cinnamon alone can provide a natural mental boost.
For thousands of years, Ceylon cinnamon has been combined with another natural healer – honey. The combination of cinnamon and honey is a potent one with a long history of use in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic (Eastern Indian) Medicine. Traditionally, honey was thought to enhance the healing properties of any spice or herb, and the synergistic blending of the essential oils in cinnamon and a special enzyme found in honey allow this special elixir to open up a whole new level of healing benefits.
The combined antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon and honey make the blend useful for anything from cuts and scrapes to food preservation. Some of the benefits attributed to honey and cinnamon include helping to maintain a healthy cardiovascular and immune system, soothing digestive complaints, helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within normal ranges, and easing minor aches and pains when applied topically. A concoction of honey and cinnamon can even been gargled as a remedy for bad breath!
Tips for Using Ceylon Cinnamon
Unlike coarse cassia cinnamon sticks, Ceylon cinnamon sticks are easy to grind and incorporate into your favorite recipes including cooked and baked goods, beverages like coffee and hot chocolate, cinnamon smoothies, and more. Ceylon cinnamon can also be consumed for its medicinal properties in the form of cinnamon tea or cinnamon pills. Ground cinnamon can be added to personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, or body wash for an added boost. Or breathe in Ceylon cinnamon’s wonderful cinnamon essential oils via aromatherapy. There are countless ways to enjoy the health benefits of cinnamon.
Storing Ceylon Cinnamon
To maintain the potency of Ceylon cinnamon sticks, store them in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place. The shelf life of Ceylon cinnamon sticks is approximately four to five years, however refrigeration in a tightly-sealed container can extend the shelf life considerably.
Blue Lily Organics Ceylon cinnamon sticks are raw, non-GMO and naturally-grown with no chemical pesticides or artificial additives. 100% USDA Certified Organic.